SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Adriel Clark “A.C.” Gray, whose published books and journals recounted his vast life experiences and lessons learned all within the context of his Christian faith and his unique perspective of what living really means, died on the 10th day of January, 2021, at the Bridgewater Retirement Community, (“BRC”) in Bridgewater, Va. He was 83.
A Shelby County, Ky., native who lived in Virginia for more than 35 years, he held various jobs around the world ranging from the American National Red Cross to the U.S. Peace Corps.
Gray worked in or visited more than 80 countries. After he retired in the 1990s, he booked passage on a cargo ship to travel around the world while he wrote “Pondering Another Passage”, the second of three books he authored. They contained compilations of over 30 years of his monthly journals to friends and colleagues, reaching more than 200 people by mail and many more online.
A 1955 graduate of Shelbyville High School, he held a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s from the University of New Mexico. He earned a doctorate in international business with course studies at American University in Washington, D.C.
He had careers as an officer and comptroller in the United States Air Force, American National Red Cross, the U.S. Peace Corps, The World Bank, and other academic, federal, and non-profit organizations.
His Air Force career had assignments in Wakkanai, Japan; Sondrestrom, Greenland; Wiesbaden and Ramstein, Germany; Incirlik, Turkey; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and several military bases in the United States. He retired from the Air Force as a captain in 1975.
Gray served for seven years as an auditor for domestic and international disaster operations in the American Red Cross and for five years was assistant inspector general for audit and later for inspections of the U.S. Peace Corps. That job consisted of visiting Peace Corps volunteers as a diplomat in 46 third-world nations and establishing bases in places like Vladivostok, Russia.
He also served as a consultant to the World Bank, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Health and Human Services Agency.
For three years, Gray was treasurer and business manager of Wesley Theological Seminary, a United Methodist Church seminary in Washington, D.C.
After retiring, Gray moved to his favorite corner of America, the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Eager to experience all of the valley, he lived in three different locations, but his chalet in the woods near Orkney Springs he named Arbreux and it was forever his favored home.
Gray said what kept him in the Dayton-Bridgewater area, when Kentucky would tug on his heart strings, were the wonderful people who became his Virginia family.
He was invited to work part-time at Dayton Interiors, a home furniture store in Harrisonburg, Va. He tuned his salary into investments in beautiful furniture pieces for his home and gifts for family and friends. The owners, staff, and customers became family to him—Barbara Beam, Bill and Gracie Florence, Beverly and Grady Jones, Linda and Bob Failes, and Clive Hallman.
Gray shared his passion for God’s Word by teaching Sunday school in every community he lived. He was a longtime teacher at the former Fort Myer U.S. Army post next to Arlington National Cemetery. As a docent at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, his knowledge of foreign countries and languages made him a hit with visitors from around the world.
Gray’s family expressed gratitude for the excellent care and genuine compassion of the staff in the BRC Serenity House in Bridgewater, including Janelle Nelling, Kayla Cook and Pastors Brenda and Russ Barb. They also were thankful to BRC staff who were with Gray “as he claimed his chariot for heaven” — Barbara Zombro, Jayne Liskey, Sara Ward, and others, all under the leadership of Lauren Reeves.
Special thanks to Gray’s brothers and sisters in Christ: Johann Weiss, Michael Barko, Karen Brooks. and his Life Church family at Brown Memorial in McGaheysville, Va.
Gray is survived by his twin brother, William P. “Whitie” Gray and his wife, Bonnie Burks, of Shelby County.
Other survivors are his cousin, Dorothy C. “Dottie” Gray of Louisville, Ky.; his nephews, Sam Gray and his wife, Sue, of Shelbyville, and Adriel Solomon Gray and his wife, Alisha, of Louisville; his nieces, Patricia Richardson Smith of Stephens City, Va., Patsy Gray Lewis and her husband, Toby, of Spencer County, and Loretta Lee “Leeta” Gray Kennedy and her husband, Patrick, also of Spencer County.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Samuel Columbus Gray and Myrtle Annie Hedges Gray of Shelbyville; his sisters, Lillian Gray Richardson and her husband, N.T. “Red,” Mary Gray Gravett and her husband, Ralph, and Annie Austin Gray; his brothers, Wilson C. “Bam” Gray, Marshall T. “Jack” Gray, Samuel D. “Bo” Gray, and Walter F. “Frenchie” Gray; and his niece, Annie Lee Gravett Jacobi.
Two memorial services will be held at a later date. One will be in the Grove Hill Cemetery Chapel in Shelbyville. A second service will be in BRC’s Lantz Chapel in Bridgewater, Va.
Private graveside services will be held in the Grove Hill Cemetery Chapel with the Rev. Mark Gibbons and the Rev. Scott Woodburn officiating.
The Hall-Taylor Funeral Home of Shelbyville is handling arrangements and the family thanks Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater and the Hall-Taylor Funeral Home of Shelbyville for their compassionate and professional assistance.
Contributions in Gray’s memory may be made to favorite charities. No flowers please. Condolences may be expressed at www.halltaylorfuneralhomes.com.